Man facing felony charges after alleged string of vehicle burglaries, forged checks and package theft

St. George Police stage at Fossil Ridge Intermediate School in St. George, Utah, July 9, 2019 | File photo by Ryann Richardson, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A local man appeared in 5th District Court Friday facing more than a dozen charges after he was identified as the suspect allegedly responsible for a string of vehicle burglaries, and the theft of a number of checks, mail and packages.

Jared Emmett, 35, of St. George, made an initial appearance in court facing nine third-degree felony offenses, including five counts of unlawful possession/acquisition of a finance card, three counts of forgery and one count of possession of another’s identifying documents. He was also charged with three misdemeanors, including theft by deception, mail theft and a paraphernalia charge.

Further charges are pending, including one third-degree felony count of possession of a forgery writing device, three misdemeanor counts of vehicle burglary and three counts of theft that were submitted to the Washington County Attorney’s Office for review.

The charges stem from three investigations that were conducted simultaneously, the first of which began Sept. 5, when detectives were called in to investigate a report of a theft involving two suspicious checks that were sent through an individual’s bank account totaling $1,100, according to charging documents filed with the court.

Both checks were made payable to the suspect, a name unknown to the individual reporting the alleged crime, police say.

The individual told police that a third check for $850 was also presented at the bank, but the account was closed so the bank refused to process it.

When the suspect was confronted, police say Emmett told them he received the checks as payment for work he had done in LaVerkin, but he said he did not know the name of the person he was working for since he allegedly found the job using an app.

The second investigation began Nov. 28 when officers responded to a number of vehicle burglaries reported on the same street in St. George. They found that equipment, tools, checks and financial cards were reportedly taken.

Jared Zachariah Emmett, 35, of St. George, booking photo posted Dec. 5, 2019, Washington County, Utah | File photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Police were able to identify the suspect allegedly responsible for the burglaries after a check was recovered from one of the reporting parties that was made out to Emmett and cashed for $1,000. Several tools and other items reportedly removed from the vehicles were later matched to pawn tickets that police say were in the suspect’s name.

Officers also recovered security footage that showed a tall man matching the description of the suspect, and, according to police, Emmett admitted to cashing the checks taken from the burglaries. Officers were later able to match the signature on the check to the suspect’s signature.

The third investigation was opened on Dec. 1 when police received a report that a package delivered to a residence in St. George was taken from the porch. Surveillance footage revealed that the package had been stolen by a female who left in a white passenger car driven by a male.

There were additional reports made of a similar suspect and vehicle taking other packages in the area, and a number of those stolen were later returned with the shipping labels ripped off and a note apologizing for taking them.

Officers learned from DMV records that a car matching the vehicle shown in the footage was registered to Emmett.

Through the course of the investigation, officers collected several shipping labels matching the packages reportedly stolen. During a search of Emmett’s residence, multiple identification documents and financial cards were found inside a coat pocket belonging to the suspect.

A number of the financial and identification cards found were later matched to property allegedly taken in a series of vehicle and residential burglaries previously reported to police. Shortly thereafter, Emmett was arrested and booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility.

The woman shown in the footage was later identified as Emmalee Layton after an officer recognized her from a number of videos and images of the thefts that had been shared on social media. She was arrested Thursday and faces misdemeanor theft and paraphernalia charges.

Emmett remains in custody on $52,630 bail and is scheduled to appear for a roll call hearing Dec. 18.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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